Ward • Damon - Press Release
Seligman Brand Strategies
BEN'S DELI WINS BATTLE IN 'THE BRISKET CASE'
Ben’s Deli Wins Injunction to be the Only Purveyor of Brisket at
the Reserve Shopping Center in Boca Raton
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (March 6, 2014) — The sale of beef brisket is clearly serious business. Ben’s Deli of Boca Raton which operates as Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers (Ben’s Deli) recently secured an order granting a temporary injunction in Circuit Court in Palm Beach County against Shorty’s barbecue restaurant. Judge Timothy McCarthy’s order declared that Ben’s Deli should be the only restaurant selling brisket at the Reserve Shopping Center, located at the corner of Clint Moore Road and 441, in Boca Raton.
Denise J. Bleau and I. Jeffrey Pheterson, partners at West Palm Beach-based Ward Damon Posner Pheterson & Bleau, sued on behalf of Ben’s Deli to enforce its lease against Shorty’s barbecue restaurant, which was selling brisket, still identified as brisket although at times also identified under the pseudonym of Texas barbecue beef. The injunction also enforces a similar restriction in Shorty’s lease which states it shall not use the premises for the sale of brisket.
The widely popular New York-based Ben’s Deli, which opened in Boca Raton in 2004, negotiated lease protections which it considered essential for the company to make this substantial investment in this the market. The lease included a restriction that the landlord, Sutton Boca One Developers, would not rent or lease any portion of the shopping center or any adjacent land to a restaurant or other store which sold “bologna, salami, brisket, corned beef, pastrami, tongue or hot dogs”. Shorty's was informed of the restrictions before signing their lease in 2011, which also contained a prohibition against the sale of brisket. Shorty’s had agreed to honor these restrictions, yet did it not abide by its lease.
Circuit Court Judge Timothy McCarthy ruled that Shorty's sale of brisket at that location violated the clear terms of both leases. The ruling resulted in a temporary injunction in favor of Ben’s Deli as the only purveyor of beef brisket at the Reserve Shopping Center. The temporary injunction most likely will be followed by a permanent injunction.
“Brisket is brisket. People love that cut of meat. Beef brisket is one of our signature menu items and significantly contributes to our gross annual revenue. We put this restriction in our lease for a reason. We are extremely gratified that the Judge agreed with us, and enforced our lease,” said Ronnie Dragoon, CEO/Founder of Ben’s Deli.
Attorney Denise Bleau stated, “This case has become well known in courthouse circles as ‘the brisket case’. To our client, this is a serious matter, well worth fighting over. Commercial lease restrictions must be enforced as negotiated, so that a business can rely on the plain language it agreed on. Otherwise, businesses are on a slippery slope, and nothing in writing can be relied upon. That would just be wrong.”
Established in 1972 with five locations throughout Queens, Long Island and Manhattan, Ben’s Deli expanded its kosher eatery to the Reserve Shopping Center in Boca Raton in 2004. The eatery is renowned for its kosher delicatessen fare—everything from matzo ball to knishes to chopped liver and, particularly, its beef brisket.
About Ward Damon
Ward Damon represents businesses and individuals through legal counseling, transactional work and litigation in federal and state courts. The firm has offices in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter and Stuart. For more information, visit www.warddamon.com or call 561.842.3000..